Sunday, June 14, 2009

The AGW debate - another good sign

The editorial in today’s Victoria Times Colonist actually summarizes a study that challenges the prevailing AGW orthodoxy:

... now, a group of respected academics has published a study challenging the majority view. (You can read their report, Climate Change Reconsidered, at

More than 9,000 scholars with doctorates in scientific disciplines have signed a petition of support.

The group disputes not only the theory of climate change, but many of the facts underlying it.

On the matter of sea ice and glaciers, they note that ice coverage in Antarctica has actually increased, while Arctic levels appear to have stabilized. They see little evidence that recent reductions in glacier size are outside the historical trend.

They found no increase in precipitation worldwide, and no overall rise or decline in river levels. They claim that droughts and floods are no more common, or severe, than before, and that wind speeds and storm intensities are unchanged.

These observations appear to contradict some basic predictions of climate change theory.

But their most contentious claims have to do with global temperature trends. They believe the observed increase of just under 1º C in the 20th century has no predictive value.

They point out that during previous warm periods over the last millennium, temperatures rose 2º or 3º C. Moreover, they claim satellite data show the upward shift of recent years has slowed dramatically in the current decade.

Finally, they reject the UN view that global warming has caused heightened mortality.

They argue that moderate temperature increases actually reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and respiratory ailments.

It is impossible for most laymen to weigh the merit of these claims. Much of the argument turns on highly technical areas of oceanography and atmospheric science.

But this is more than an academic dispute. Across the globe, governments are taking unprecedented steps to change the foundations of industrial production.

These measures involve significant costs, which the consumer must bear.

Good stuff. The main flaw in the editorial is that it prefaced the above with a capsule statement of it’s former (false) position that (up to now, only) "A few isolated critics have raised difficulties. Some were cranks, and few had standing in the scientific community". Nothing could further from the truth. The scientists who contributed to this study are the same ones who for years have been waxing skeptical about AGW theory and evidence.

But still, before now the TC has been a dedicated purveyor of AGW alarmism with stories featuring the likes of the Sierra Club and David Suzuki and almost always calling upon it’s chief political scientist and climate alarmist, Andrew Weaver, for comment. So this editorial represents a significant shift in the TC's position and is another sign the climate debate in general is shifting in the right direction - that is towards an actual honest debate.


Halfwise said...

One must be cautious when changing an editorial stance. Wouldn't want anyone thinking the previous stance was in some way, possibly, er, flawed, right?

JR said...

Exactly. There's no doubt in my mind that the TC editorial board was practicing CYA.

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